Got more landscaping work than you know what to do with?
Then it may be time to start hiring help. Whether your landscaping business is already up and running or you’re just beginning to outline your business plan, preparing your steps to hire new employees is a crucial goal for you as an entrepreneur.
Getting extra help can alleviate stress from the heavy workload and being able to finish large projects on time. It also helps to boost sales by increasing the number of services you provide, as well as maximizing time efficiency.
Although I’m not a landscaper, I’ve taken the time to research and collect information and tips from landscaping forums and websites — and hopefully, save you time in finding the best hiring advice!
Look for experienced landscape workers.
Get the people who already know what they’re doing and have a solid list of landscaping projects. In time, if you aren’t in such a critical stage of hiring and can allow more entry-level workers, then you can consider hiring someone who needs training from your company before they can work on large projects.
When you’re starting a landscaping business and building your reputation, you don’t want it to be tainted by employees who make rookie mistakes. One poorly done project could cost you a lot of money just to fix it. Plus, if you have a disappointed customer, you could lose potential clients in that same neighborhood due to word-of-mouth complaints about your business.
On the flip side, if you hire experienced people and deliver high-quality work to your initial customers, other people will take notice and seek out your business.
Consider your workload.
You don’t want to do all the work yourself, but you want to make sure that you actually have work for someone else to do. So think about how much work you have in an average week and think about how much you can do without compromising the quality of your services. With an industry such as landscaping, you’re being looked at by your customers for how well a job you do.
If you don’t need much help but still could use an extra pair of hands on certain projects, you should also consider hiring part-time workers instead of bringing them on board full time. In fact, if you start with a contract-to-hire basis, this gives you time to see if the workers are actually a good fit for you and your business.
Think about your work schedule year-round.
Consider the seasonality of your job — are you able to work year-round? What services do you offer (or would like to offer but you don’t have the specific skillset)? Depending on where you live, do you plan to offer snow plowing in the winter?
It may be smart to hire people with different landscaping skills than you have so that your business’s offerings are well-rounded (and therefore, your business can keep up with your competition). You also may find that in the warmer-weather seasons you’re busier than in the fall and winter, which is why you’ll likely opt to hire a few people part-time or seasonally.
Don’t default to friends and family.
While there are emotional ties and trust in people you already know, hiring family members and friends can be tricky unless you’re branding your business as a family-run organization or you’re co-owning a business.
Maybe your best friend knows a few things about landscaping marketing that could help save you time in the hiring process, but down the road, you may find they aren’t a good fit for the job. If things are falling apart or your business is not where it should be, that becomes an awkward situation when you have to dismiss them. This can result in personal life drama that you can’t escape for a while.
Family, friends, and neighbors are likely to feel entitled and don’t perform at the same level as you or a stranger you hired. You don’t want to ruin your reputation or cause conflict for other employees by hiring family and friends who aren’t cut out for the landscaping business.
Unless you really think it through and there’s no other option, don’t hire friends and family over other qualified candidates.
Think about your finances.
Though you may be eager to get employees to make your new landscaping business more successful, you also have to consider your finances. Can you afford payroll and the other expenses associated with keeping your business running successfully (i.e., landscaping supplies, travel costs, and office space or insurance coverage) when you hire new employees?
Try hiring one person at a time on a contract-to-hire basis. This may be more budget-friendly, and if it doesn’t work out, you won’t lose money on needing to dismiss a full-time employee.
Complete a background check.
While a candidate can come across as the perfect fit with a great landscaping background, you must protect yourself and your business by having a background check done on all prospective employees. To check for criminal records, you can use a site such as CrimCheck.
If you need employees who can drive trucks to take equipment to landscaping job sites, you should look into their driving records, which you can do here.
If you’re having trouble finding people to hire, consider networking with friends and online landscaping communities. Posting on job boards or in the newspaper won’t be enough, especially if you want to find the best possible workers. Facebook and LinkedIn are great sources for networking with other people in the landscaping trades. If you are friends with fellow landscapers, they also may have employees who are looking for more work.
Before hiring, don't forget to run a landscaping insurance quote to ensure you're covered.
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When she’s not writing for SB, Pauline runs an intuitive healing business... and is still writing as she types up psychic readings! As she was raised by entrepreneurs, she knows what it takes to be a small business owner.
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